Stanford, CA asked in Copyright for California

Q: As a photographer for a nonprofit college student newspaper, do I hold copyright?

I'm only being paid a small stipend with no other benefits. I generally am able to choose which assignments to pursue. I use my own equipment, edit the photos on my own time, in my own space. I have not signed any agreements, and certainly not one that specified made for hire.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Ray Beckerman
Ray Beckerman
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Forest Hills, NY

A: Yes, as the creator, you own the copyrights to photos you've taken. However, you may have lost your rights when you published them without a copyright notice, or you may have ceded them by allowing the newspaper to copyright them.

You should have a lawyer-prepared contract with the newspaper if you're interested in preserving your copyright in your photos.

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